Trump to UN: Confront Iran and North Korea or Risk Being ‘Bystanders in History’

Donald Trump will use his first address to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday to call for international action to confront North Korea and Iran, which he will portray as twin threats to global security, the White House said.

The U.S. president will warn member states that they risk being “bystanders in history” if they do not mobilise to confront such threats, the Guardian reports. The president’s speech will focus on “world regimes that threaten security”, the official said.

“Obviously one of the chief regimes that will be singled out in this regard is the regime of North Korea and all of its destabilising hostile and dangerous behaviour, as well as of course the regime of Iran,” he argued.

Trump’s speech will seek to distinguish between the Iranian government and its population, and the president will suggest that they are at odds.

“One of the strategic implications of the speech is to point out that one of the greatest threats to the status quo in Iran is the Iranian people themselves,” the White House official said.

In challenging the viability of the 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran, the U.S. is a lonely voice on the Security Council. One of Trump’s few allies in his assault on the agreement, Benjamin Netanyahu, met the U.S. president in New York on Monday. Trump’s options vary from merely enforcing the accord’s provisions to immediately abrogating it to everything in between, Jerusalem Post reports.

First option is to enforce the deal’s provisions, but the accord’s harshest critics, including many Republicans and many disarmament experts who opposed it, want it ended and the sooner the better. They believe it merely gave Iran sanctions relief and a free hand to promote more terrorism in the Middle East.

Second option is to certify Iran as compliant for now, but try to renegotiate:  this is an in-between option closer to keeping the agreement, but starts from a point of greater skepticism. There are four areas where these experts say that the agreement must be improved: The IAEA must be allowed full and routine access to Iran military nuclear sites; Iran’s permitted requests for nuclear program materials through the UN should be made public; the IAEA should provide more information about why it views Iran as compliant with the deal; and Iran’s ballistic missile testing should be rolled back.

Currently, the IAEA has limited access to military nuclear sites and has been criticized for allowing Iran to interject itself into the soil sample-taking process when the IAEA visited the Parchin site.

The third option, which is closer to ending the deal, but more moderate, is sort of end the deal but with a question mark. The idea would be for Trump in mid-October to decline to certify Iran’s compliance with the deal, but express an openness to continue the deal if Congress authorizes it within 60 days and as part of a renegotiated and improved agreement. Experts suggesting Trump to decline to certify compliance believe that Iran will not be open to negotiation absent the threat of ending the deal by initially refusing to certify.

Last option would be extending limits on Iran’s nuclear program beyond the deal’s eight- to 10-year expiry. The experts supporting this say that all efforts at renegotiation are useless if Tehran can comply with the agreement and build a nuclear weapon in 10 years.